January generally kicks off the season of diet plans, weight-loss journals, and fishing old gym shoes out of the backs of thousands of closets across the nation. This year, however, despite the increasing overweight and obesity epidemic, fewer people are hitting the ground running in this new year. New polls show that Americans no longer view obese as unattractive, a change that could explain why this year, New Year’s Dieting is at an all-time low.
In 1995, no states in the nation had an obesity rate of more than 20 percent. Last year, every single state has an obesity rate of over 20 percent, with Mississippi ranking as the heaviest state, and Colorado as the leanest.
The NPD group, a leading global information company, has been tracking American’s dieting habits for nearly 30 years. The percentage of adults on a diet has massively decreased. About 20 percent of adults report they are on a diet, a percentage that is down from the 31 percent in 1991. Women are leading the diet decline.
“Our data suggests that dieters are giving up on diets more quickly than in the past. In 2004, 66 percent of all dieters said they were on a diet for at least 6 months. In 2012, that number dropped to 62 percent. Perhaps people are not seeing results quickly enough,” said Harry Balzer, vice president of The NPD Group. “Americans still want to lose weight, but we are seeing a change in attitudes about being overweight,” said Balzer.
That change could be coming from our perceived attractiveness, research indicates. In 1985, 55 percent of Americans agreed that people who were not overweight were a lot more attractive than people who are overweight. Last year, only 23 percent of Americans felt that those in a healthy weight were more attractive.
In one of the “biggest changes in our attitudes about health over the last 30 years,” Americans have apparently become used to being overweight. It is no longer considered unattractive to be obese. While rising obesity rates have been blamed on everything from corn syrup to Facebook, it could be that the nation’s attitude toward obesity is the heart of the problem.
While this attitude may be good for self-esteem, it is detrimental to our nation’s health. The more than overweight and obesity is widely accepted, the more trouble there will be in combating its prevalence.